Monday, July 25, 2011

State Assaults Citizen for Holding Heart Balloon

Note:  I was at the Capitol during today’s attack, and tweeted about it for much of the afternoon.  The events are well summarized on @bluecheddar1 and were witnessed by @batmanWI.  See Lance J Gosnell on Facebook and Matthew Schauenburg for more eyewitness reports  Also read @rebeccakemble at  for excellent reporting.

In this blog, I need to ask a question about today’s attack. 

What does it take, for a state, to reach a point where a citizen is attacked by that state’s government, for holding a heart balloon?

I have pondered that question ever since this afternoon’s assault of local activist Leslie Amsterdam, by DOA Assistant Director of Facilities, Ron Blair, at the Wisconsin Capitol.   Was it the citizen’s “fault” for being attacked?  What was Leslie doing when Blair decided to pull a knife? 

Leslie was standing outside of the Wisconsin Supreme Court chambers, around 1:00pm, with a heart balloon, ready to have her picture taken.  That’s it. There’s no deep, dark secret protest story involved.  Just an activist and her heart balloon – a symbol of love.

Leslie loves heart balloons.  Just last week, on YouTube, a post, “Heart Balloon Chase at WI State Capitol - 07-20-11” showed her as she delivered balloons, ultimately, to State Assembly representative, Tamara Grigsby.  One of Grigsby’s aides said the balloon still resides in Grigsby’s office.  On that video, a Capitol Police officer follows Leslie.  Watch the video.

Leslie likes hearts in general.  She is often seen wearing a t-shirt, of her own design, a red heart, enveloping the state of Wisconsin, both split down the middle. 

So what, or who, is the cause of that split in Wisconsin?  Years ago I had a boss who had a colorful saying for everything.  If one of our business units was underperforming, he’d say, “If the fish stinks, the head is rotten.” 

Unfortunately, for Wisconsin, and Leslie Amsterdam, our “head” is Scott Walker. 

And what of Ron Blair – the attacker?  He works for DOA head, Mike Huebsch, the loyalist of all loyalists to our stinking fish head of a Governor.  Today’s attack is a violent demonstration of the mentality of this corrupt administration, and illustrates their priorities, just as, if not more clearly, than any of their budget proposals.

Simply, Scott Walker and his allies, Mike Huebsch, the Fitzgeralds - and their GOP legislature, care more about property than any individual citizen of this state. 

Let me say it one more time.  Scott Walker, and his allies, cares more about property than people.  If this is false, why then do we have a state employee attacking a citizen for holding a heart balloon?    

Read the media reports to come.  They’ll talk about balloons causing extensive damage to the Capitol.  I’m not going to waste my time refuting another propaganda piece about $7.5 million dollars of damage to marble, granite, and grass; we’ve been through it before.  We know where these bogus damage reports originate – with Walker, and his buddy, Mike Huebsch.  

Walker, and his libertarian ideology, has created this dystopic environment, where a citizen, standing in the most hallowed halls of our democracy, is no longer safe from the violent actions of the government which Walker heads. 

Today’s attack is not only an attack on a woman, a mother, a citizen - as horrific as that is – it is an attack on democracy itself. 

If you disagree with that statement, picture yourself, or a friend, with a favorite item, or symbol - holding it, as a photo is taken of you in the State Capitol.  Perhaps it’s an American, or Gadsden flag.  How about a Bible, or other sacred text?  What would you say – and more importantly – what would you do, after your friend had been attacked by an agent of the state, simply for holding that cherished item in the People’s house? 

I know what my friends and I will do. 

In the words of a Solidarity Sing Along tune – “Scotty we’re coming for you!”


  1. Well said! The attacker spilled blood (his own) all over the marble floor today. I'm estimating the clean up will be at least $7.5 million. It's somewhat ironic that one of the attacker's jobs with the DOA is preservation of the marble.

  2. Very nice post. "Mike Huebsch, the loyalist of all loyalists to our stinking fish head of a Governor" I would like that on a T-shirt with an illustration of a stinking fish head!